Gut Rumbles

June 01, 2004

non-musicians won't understand

Tonight, when I was watching that dumbass Greatest Country Songs countdown, they hit #3 and brought out some finalist from American Idol to sing "Crazy," which is my all-time favorite Patsy Cline song and the best thing Willie Nelson ever wrote in his life.

I sat on the floor totally unmoved by the performance. That woman hit all the notes and the band was good, but the song just didn't feel right. She sang "Crazy" as if she were happy to be on that stage. Patsy didn't do that. She broke your fucking heart when she sang that song. There wasn't a damned thing happy about it, and she let you know.

Why is it that some people FEEL music and other people don't? I'm talking about both listeners and players. How can a woman with a voice as beautiful as the one I heard sing tonight just totally butcher Patsy Cline? How could people not feel the difference between going through the motions and really FEELING the music?

I'll have to think about that question while I play my guitar.


It's not a matter of feeling, it's a matter of understanding the song. Why it was written. Who wrote it. How it was meant to be performed.

All of those on stage, while talented, have little or no clue what the music is. They see notes, lyrics, and can assemble them in a pleasing way, but they'll never understand them unless they roll up their sleeves and actually get into the tune. Few young performers do these days, which is why most of them end up Britney Spears knockoffs.

Same thing happens in the performing world. Some people read the script and do what the director says, but never take the time to understand the person they're supposed to be playing. It's the difference between a good performer and a great one, and the same holds true for musicians. It's also usually the reason that most young artists suck. Can't understand life when you haven't lived any of it yet.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on June 1, 2004 01:37 AM

Rob........posted on wrong post before. If singer hasn't lived it, no way in hell can they convey that to the listener. I can see right through the lie in their's too slick.
Too many are performance artists and not artists of a craft they have busted their ass to get a hold on.
I've never put stock into what the "experts" have said is the best of this or that, whatever the media being highlighted. If I read a review of a movie and the critic slammed it, it's on my must-see list most of the time.
I listen to not only the words, but if the singer feels the words issueing forth, I can feel the message in them.
The story is only as good as the story teller.
I'm always up for a good story.

Posted by: patootie on June 1, 2004 01:45 AM

Storyteller doesn't have to live the story to feel it.

Professional voice training reduces art to math, sadly.

Posted by: Deb on June 1, 2004 05:08 AM

Only two people I ever heard sing that song and do it justice is Patsy Cline and Willie. Everybody else is just a piker trying to imitate it.
That song comes from the heart, not the vocal cords. Otherwise Willie would never be able to pull it off. But, then again, he WROTE it.
Makes sense to me.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on June 1, 2004 09:29 PM

I listen to the Star-Spangled Banner by "vocal artists".
Goosebumps and raised hair on my forearms are the criteria.
Some can do it, most can not.
Here in AZ, we have a trumpet player that does it every time.
That man can PLAY.

Posted by: Dan Pursel on June 1, 2004 09:31 PM

Coulda swore I read somewhere that Patsy Cline herself didn't like the song and was tricked into recording it... producer told Cline her contract would be dropped if she didn't do the song (wasn't true, but it worked).  Something like that.

Posted by: Beast of Bourbon on June 2, 2004 04:16 AM
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